Upper Rhine (1780)
This instrument was made in the upper Rhine region of Alsace in France, as part of the French Classical period of Western Art Music. Henrion was a provincial craftsman who made some keyboards during his life. He was not a master piano builder, and this is demonstrated in the crudeness of the his instrument. The action has many irregularities in it, including abnormalities in the layout of the strings – not all the strings are separated with the same distance of space between each string. The action and tone are thus unreliable and widely variable, even when tuned properly. There are several marks on the body that indicate at one point there being knee pedals, but these no longer exist.
This instrument is one of two Henrion instruments in Australia, and is the only one is playing condition. Mr Gavin Gostelow has worked on this instrument extensively both at his private workshop and at the ANU. The instrument was donated to the ANU Keyboard Institute in 2009 by Dr Andrew Nolan.